NYCS Swag Spotlight: Leah Turner

Leah Turner

Leah Turner has been in the music industry for years and she is now an artist reestablishing herself and her music in the country genre. Turner was born and raised in California on a ranch with her rodeo winning father and strong Latina mother.  Growing up she was always around music and remembers always singing around her house and getting involved in all different kinds of artistic avenues. With her dad being a cowboy she recalled that “country music was really the soundtrack in my household growing up… with Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, Willie Nelson, Brooks and Dunn, and George Strait on the radio, I heard people singing about the life I was living going from rodeo to rodeo.”

Partway through college at Santa Barbara, she dropped out and packed her bags after Kenny Loggins heard her sing/write in a songwriting class, reinstilling in her that this was the career she had always wanted. After moving to L.A. to hone in on her craft and perfect her voice, she felt there was still something missing. Wanting to sing the type of music she grew up on, she packed up again and made the move to Nashville, Tennesse. One of her early songs, “Take the Keys,” became a Top 40 hit as Turner toured with Kenny Chesney, Rascal Flatts, Jake Owen, and more.

This year Turner was named one of CMT’s Next Women of Country alongside Stephanie Quayle, Tenille Townes, Rachel Wammack and more. When talking about getting inducted, Turner says “it was a God thing because you are getting a new beginning with new management and releasing a new single”. During that time she also signed a deal with L3 Entertainment.

Turner’s latest release, a song titled “Blah Blah Blah” is showcased through the perspective of a woman who has heard enough empty words from her significant other. Believe it or not, she says the song is “literally taken from text messages from a guy I dated for about a year. It was a long-distance relationship that had a lot of good intentions that fell flat with a lot of over-promising and under-delivering.” She explains to keep a relationship going “if someone wants to do something, nothing will stand in their way.” After realizing her worth and value, she took their words, text messages, and her heart, she decided to air all frustration out for everyone to hear. With the amount of traction it is receiving, Turner told us “I am really grateful to have Nashville still wrap their arms around me as an artist and songwriter and being able to show that you never give up.” This song is something everybody has heard from a significant other or just anyone in life blowing smoke and all you hear is their “Blah Blah Blah” and Turner turned it into a powerful statement of a song.

One new venture the CMT’s Next Women of Country inductee has up her sleeve the rest of the year is something you would not see coming and that is releasing “Blah Blah Blah” in Spanglish. This decision is something that is important to her as she is half Mexican. Between paying tribute to her roots and tapping a market that has such a growing demographic in the country world, Turner sees the similarities between the two cultures. Growing up in the rodeo culture, she saw that family, faith, and hardworking ways are something they all have in common, as well as a love for country music of course. Also locking down new tour dates, there will be plenty of times to catch her live. For tour dates and more information head to https://www.leahturner.com/

To keep up with Leah Turner, follow her on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

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NYCS Swag Spotlight: Kaleb Lee

Kaleb Lee

Our Swag Spotlight this week is former The Voice contestant and talented singer-songwriter, Kaleb Lee. In our phone conversation with the rising artist, we discussed everything from his experience on The Voice reigniting his drive to chase his music dream to how growing up, he wanted to be “Garth Brooks #2.”

Originally, Lee hails from rural, western Kentucky, where he resided throughout his childhood and even a few years into his marriage. He credits his hometown and his upbringing for making him fall in love with country music, sharing, “My first concert was a Garth Brooks concert. That started the trajectory for me of wanting to be Garth Brooks #2. I started playing guitar when I was eight. I think it was shortly after that, we went to that concert. Growing up in rural western Kentucky, what we listened to was country music. It’s Alan Jackson, Garth Brooks, Travis Tritt, Clint Black, George Strait, and all those guys.”

Lee grew up listening to country music legends; however, his home town also inspired his desire to play music for a living. “We went to high school jamming it in our lifted up little trucks that we got when we were sixteen,” he laughs, adding, “Country music is so much about the lifestyle of living, but it was how we lived and it was what we listened to.”

As he tried to make it in the industry, Lee often traveled back and forth from his hometown to Nashville, Tennessee, focusing on songwriting and playing gigs, but after years of hearing more “Nos” than “Yeses,” Lee and his wife made the decision to focus on their family. In 2009, the couple and their children subsequently moved to Florida, where Lee ventured into another career path and went back to school, putting music on the back-burner for five years.

As fate would have it, producers on The Voice reached out to the dad of 3, asking if he wanted to audition for the show. With encouragement from his wife, Lee admitted that he had to take the opportunity. Lee recounted the story in our conversation, sharing “When The Voice reached out, that was one of those things that I couldn’t say no to. It kinda happened so randomly and divinely. We made that decision and went and did the audition stuff,” adding, “When The Voice reached out it was kinda a rebirth if you will of being able to go back and pursue the hopes and dreams that you had ten years ago that you thought were gone.” Lee continued to reminisce about his experiences on the show, even stating that he would do it all over again if he had the opportunity.

Since his stint on the show, Lee continues to work with his coach, Kelly Clarkson. He shares that her support and genuine excitement for his success has been invaluable, as he navigates his career as an artist. Clarkson continues to champion his career, even after the show wrapped. She is an executive producer on his EP that is slated to come out later this year, as well as, sings with Lee on his next single to be released called, “I Dream In Southern.”

His newest single, “I Need A Drink,” premiered back in July; and, it is the perfect summer anthem that embodies how you want to feel. It follows his debut single, “Cooler Weather.” Lee tells us that the new track was written specifically with summer in mind, adding “the moral of the story is we just want people to have fun and let loose because I know that’s what people want to do. People have really gravitated to it [at live shows].”

To keep up with Kaleb Lee, follow him on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

“I Need A Drink” is available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released music here on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.

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NYCS Swag Spotlight: MAMADEAR

MAMADEAR

This week our Swag Spotlight is the dynamic trio MAMADEAR featuring Kelly Bradway, Dan Wilson, and Parker Bradway. Three good friends who all happened to move to Nashville as aspiring musicians doing their own thing, got together on Kelly’s front porch to write songs. When the songwriting wasn’t clicking, the threesome decided to sing a country classic and one of their favorites, “Fishin’ In the Dark.” It was then they all realized the undeniable chemistry of their voices. Kelly said, “A magical crush feeling in a music sense” came over them as their voices came together, so they decided to keep doing it.

The talented group stems from all over the map. Dan Wilson, a songwriter from South Carolina moved to Nashville to pursue his dream of making music. Parker Bradway is from Atlanta, Georiga, and Kelly Bradway is from the Washington D.C. area. Wilson said, “We weren’t put together, a lot of times bands are put together by people and it was not on our radar to start this band at all, it just kind of happened.” Although the three of them had one essential connection, they all met through well-known songwriter Tom Douglas, who has written hits such as Miranda Lambert’s “The House That Built Me.” Seven years later, MAMADEAR has perfected harmonies and created music fans want more and more of.

MAMADEAR’s major influences in music stem from the albums of various harmony bands. They love listening and learning from artists such as The Eagles, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Alabama, and the Dixie Chicks. Not to mention, current country groups Little Big Town and Lady Antebellum inspire their music and harmonies as well.  “We spend a lot of time with the three of us practicing our harmonies and trying to get them super tight, even down to where we breathe making sure we are in sync with each other,” she explains.  “We love the harmonies, and that seems to be what really connects with people, so we try to build on that as much as we can.”

Interestingly enough, MAMADEAR just returned from playing a summer residency in the French Riveria opening up for artists such as John Legend and Sting. A country band from Nashville had the privilege to play at a summer-long festival that took place in a beautiful open-air venue on the Mediterranean. They definitely learned a lot opening up for seasoned artists, and Parker referenced John Legend’s performance saying, “It was pretty surreal sitting side stage watching someone with that much talent – it was so cool because it was just him and a piano and it inspired us to just really focus on our craft and being really good at it, and someone will notice.” Kelly added, “The thing that I loved about him as he came off stage he was still just humming to himself, that is a true musician right there.”

MAMADEAR’s newest single “Lost Cause” was released earlier this month. Kelly described the track as “a really fun, in love” type of song.” Parker who is married to Kelly explained how “Lost Cause” came about, as it was inspired by a drive from Nashville to Atlanta. “Kelly and I are married, and when we were dating, we would take tons of road trips back home to Atlanta.” “We were young and in love and being silly, and that road trip would always take us six or seven hours, and my parents would know what time we’d left, and when we would get to Atlanta and they’re like why are you three and a half hours late?” he laughed. “Kelly and I were just in la-la land, we would just pull over to every country store and every overlook, we were lost and wild.” He continued, “This song is about that – having your parents or the world just roll your eyes at you when you are young and in love, but you don’t really care because that’s all that matters to you in that moment.” Check out the newest single below.

MAMADEAR is now back in the United States and ready to keep things rolling. In addition to the release of “Lost Cause,” fans should be on the lookout for their first music video to their song “Steal Away.” Kelly said they had a ton of fun making the video and it turned out exactly how they had hoped, and the trio is extremely excited to put it out very soon. The rest of the year is going to be busy for MAMADEAR, as their schedule is filled with live shows and new music. They will be opening up for Josh Turner, as well as their own headlining shows in the Southeast. MAMADEAR’s plan is to keep releasing new content, and in the words of the band, they are “excited about what the fall holds.”

To keep up with MAMADEAR follow them on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

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NYCS Swag Spotlight: Lori McKenna

Lori McKenna

Photo Credit: Becky Fluke

Our Swag Spotlight this week is not a rising artist but an established, veteran songwriter responsible for some of the most prolific and important songs in our generation of country music. Lori McKenna was born and raised in Massachusets and still resides there today with her husband whom she married when she was 19 years old. Growing up the youngest of six children, McKenna’s family were all musical whether they sang, played in a band or wrote songs, she was immersed in the musical culture from a very young age. She jokes as she tells us that in her house it was “Jesus and James Taylor”. Other musical influences included Neil Young, Jackson Browne, Carly Simon, and Carole King to name a few, always leaning heavily into the singer-songwriter genre.

“I have the strangest voice in my family, all of my siblings can sing really pretty, what happened to me?” she laughs. “I learned over the years that even though it’s different, least I have a distinctive voice.” When she was 13 her older brother who loved to write songs taught her that once she learned three chords, she could write music and so she did. “I always wrote songs as a means of therapy, some people have a journal, instead I would write a song.”

She married Gene, whom she met in the third grade and they had three children very quickly, her eldest is now 20. She explains that it wasn’t until her third child was born that she ever even thought about letting the world hear her music. She went to open mic nights and made a record, Bittertown, which is celebrating it’s 15th anniversary this year. “I just kept following it, I always followed my music, it was always luckily a step ahead of me,” she tells us. “I battled with confidence issues, I didn’t know I was worthy of doing it outside of my house, for the most part, I’ve been so lucky that it sort of pulled me. I tell my kids to stick their neck out, even if it sounds stupid, they should try it anyway.”

The turning point in her career was Bittertown when songs from that album were pitched around Nashville, and Faith Hill decided to cut four of them. Although she didn’t grow up listening to country music, she completely understood why her lyrics identified with that audience and landed her a publishing deal in Nashville. She credits Music City with giving her some of her very best friends, the people that she co-writes all of her music with.

Now a mother of five children, McKenna made the poignant decision to keep her family together and not uproot everyone to move to Nashville. “I realized a few years back, the benefit for me and not living in Nashville is, I’m not an everyday writer, I have tons of friends that write every day, my brain just doesn’t work that way,” she laughs. “The benefit for me is, I’ve never for one second had any sort of bitterness towards the town of Nashville or the music that is created there. Every time I show up, I get off the plane and I am so excited to be there and to get in a writing room and it’s really like I get to have the best of both worlds”.

In the fifteen years since her life changed forever, McKenna has won two Grammy awards and has made history. In 2016, she became the first woman ever to win the Country Music Association’s Song of the Year two years in a row. Those two songs were “Girl Crush” which was written with Hillary Lindsey and Liz Rose and recorded by Little Big Town and “Humble and Kind” which McKenna wrote alone in her pajamas in her home in Massachusets which was later recorded by Tim McGraw. The former was written one morning in Nashville, watch the songwriters tell the story below in Opry’s series “The Write Stuff”.

 

McKenna says later that day they had a co-write with Kimberly and Karen from Little Big Town and when they told them about their “weird” new song, they absolutely loved it. “The five of us were just sitting there and I looked around at the room and I was teasing and I said, ‘Oh my God, I’m the only one here without a Grammy’ and Karen said, ‘Lori McKenna, we’re going to get you a Grammy’. Sure enough, at the 2016 Grammy awards, the song won for Best Country Duo/Group Performance as well as Song of the Year, winning McKenna her first Grammy award. “To have that experience with them [Hilary and Lindsey] was such a Godsend, they had done it before, they knew the process and I was experiencing this really surreal thing with my two best friends,” she explains.

The latter, “Humble and Kind” had quite a different start. McKenna tells us how she dropped her kids off at school one morning, came back to an empty house and sat around in her pajamas, essentially making a list of all of the things she and her husband would want their kids to know and what they tell them over and over again as well as those smaller things that you don’t verbalize. She sang it into her iPhone and emailed it to Tim McGraw, who immediately knew he wanted to record it. “When he was telling me about all of these ideas he had for it, once he had recorded it like the music video, I couldn’t believe it,” she admits. “I was like what is he doing with this song, it’s not some big moment, it’s just a tiny little prayer for five little kids, then when I saw what he created from it, in a million ways that song would not be what it is if it wasn’t for Tim, for what he did, the vision he had for it was so much bigger than I ever would have imagined. “

The song also went on to win a Grammy for Best Country Song as well as McKenna’s second year in a row winning Song of the Year at the CMA Awards. For country fans who love McGraw’s version, be sure to listen to McKenna’s version below, which really emulates the simple little prayer and poem she initially thought of when writing it.

In celebration of Bittertown’s 15th anniversary, McKenna just wrapped up her Return to Bittertown Tour and released two of the standouts from the project, “Stealing Kisses” and “Bible Songs”. We caught her stop at Subculture late last month and we were mesmerized by the songstress and her legendary delivery of her music.

Listen to Lori McKenna’s full catalog below and keep up with her by following on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

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NYCS Swag Spotlight: Jon Wood

We spoke to our next Swag Spotlight, Jon Wood just after he released his debut EP which was produced and co-written with Justin Weaver, a major songwriter in Nashville with songs like Brantley Gilbert’s “Bottoms Up”, Jason Aldean’s “Even If I Wanted To” and the Meghan Trainor/John Legend smash pop hit, “Like I’m Gonna Lose You”. Wood who was born in a small town just 20 minutes north of Nashville experienced his father working in the music industry as a songwriter and an artist. Eventually, they moved to North Carolina where Wood tells us his father gave up one dream to follow another. “He had four boys and anything that would take him to the next level would end up taking him away from his family so he realized he wanted to be a dad more than anything so he put that on to the side and raised us and taught us how to write songs and sing,” he explains.

Growing up he recalls his family formed a band with a bluegrass sound and they recorded all of the music in the studio their father built in their house. Wood was only 12 years old and loved playing festivals and pursuing a music career with his family by his side. He knew from an early age that with the support of his parents, he was going to continue to be determined to make it in the music world.  Instilling the love for classic country like George Jones, Merle Haggard, and George Strait, Wood eventually made his way to Nashville wearing a cowboy hat and hoping to carve his own path. “I’ve been here since May of last year, I moved when I was 21 after a 15-minute conversation with my parents and honestly, the rest of my story is still being written.

Oddly enough, Wood now lives a mere five minutes from where his parents lived back in the 1990s and he passes their old apartment building all of the time. “It’s so crazy, I’m sort of living what they wanted to live,” he says. “My dad was the first one who told me to move to Nashville to truly chase that dream.” After Weaver found Wood by seeing one of the videos he posted on Instagram, they struck up a great friendship and started working together. “I get to write with him and sit in the studio and hang out for hours and just write and make music and it’s hard to find people that you can just truly sit down with and create with,” he says of their effortless relationship. Weaver is a co-writer and producer on all four of the songs on his From Where I’m From EP. Each track has a traditional vibe and Wood explains that it is so refreshing to see artists like Midland, Jon Pardi, and Luke Combs experiencing such success.

“When I got to town I looked at Dustin Lynch who’s music isn’t the most traditional but he did have that cowboy hat so I figured I could do something in that lane but with Midland and Jon Pardi, it shows that people are getting sort of tired of hearing the same thing on the radio, not that it’s bad music but sometimes you aren’t sure if you clicked country radio or pop radio,” he explains. “We want to find the sound that Kenny Chesney tapped into in the early 2000s, it was traditional but he could sell out a stadium with it and keep the energy going.”

His next EP is slated for release in the fall and he looks forward to working hands on the project and hopefully getting out to play some shows around the south.

To keep up with Jon Wood follow him on InstagramTwitter, and Facebook.

From Where I’m From is now available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more recently released music here on our “New Country Music” playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.

 

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NYCS Swag Spotlight: Sam Williams

Sam Williams

Sam Williams, son of Hank Williams Jr. and grandson of Hank Williams is this week’s Swag Spotlight and we talked all about his legacy and the career path and music he is now creating to carve out his own piece of this music genre. At just 22 years old, Williams has just released a new single, titled “Gemini” which perfectly describes the zodiac sign and all that call it theirs.

Obviously growing up in a famous family, country music was in his blood. His grandfather’s career, though short, is nothing less than legendary and many of the artists that we interview today state that Hank Williams’ music shaped their love for the genre and influenced them. His grandson, however, explains that there wasn’t a jukebox in their home playing his music or his father’s music, that he grew up listening to rap music as well and clearly remembers buying Chris Browns’ debut album. After attending Belmont University to learn more about the industry that he was almost destined to end up in, Williams explains that he appreciates all genres and loves finding new, old music to love. “I have a likening to country music but probably not as much of the modern popular country music,” he tells us. “I love to discover a classic or legendary artist who everyone else knows but since it wasn’t my era, I wasn’t too aware of it. For example, Gillian Welsh, “Look At Miss Ohio” it’s a classic but I don’t really know that song because it wasn’t my time period.” He even explained that just a few months ago he heard his grandpa’s song “Why Shouldn’t We Try Anymore” for the first time and it’s now one of his favorites.

He explains how growing up he had different dreams that didn’t involve music. “When I was 12-13 years old I really wanted to have a sneaker company or something like that. I was also, always very into politics, I think my Dad always thought I was going to do something like that but at the end of the day, I had a voice that was given to me.” Although his grandfather is regarded as one of the most influential artists in country music in his short time on this earth, his legacy, and how he died was something Williams has to come to terms with before making the decision to step into the same industry.

Currently, he listens to everything from Dolly Parton to Billie Eilish, Beyonce, and Drake, and discusses with us that those different genres are crucial to how he is now developing his own sound. His newest single, “Gemini” started out as a poem and has been a song he wrote with fellow songwriter, Jaida Dreyer. “We were getting to know each other and talking in a write one day and she was talking about an idea of straddling a line, something parallel, left and right, right and wrong and I was talking about zodiacs and Gemini’s and how they have 2 personalities.” The twangy guitar along with his rustic voice, “Gemini” is a balance between modern and traditional music.

Williams concludes with his upcoming plans for the rest of the year, gearing up to release a collaboration with an artist he says “we all know and love”. He’s hoping to release an EP by the end of the year.

To keep up with Sam Williams, follow him on Facebook and Instagram.

“Gemini” is available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released music here on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.

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NYCS Swag Spotlight: Taylor Acorn

If you are looking for a perfect brand new summer anthem to blast at your BBQs and tailgates look no further than this week’s Swag Spotlight, Taylor Acorn and her new jam “Red White”. In our recent phone conversation, Acorn explained that growing up she remembers all different genres being played around the house but especially country, rock and roll, and pop. Her very first introduction into country music was Garth Brooks and her first concert was Lonestar. “I don’t think I ever really thought, initially music was what I wanted to do but I would always go around the house singing my little heart out,” Acorn laughs. “I could always connect with music whether or not I was feeling happy or sad. I remember sitting in my room with a boom box and I would just play all different kinds of music and sing along.”

After her father passed away and her family moved to Pennslyvania, she tells us how she felt close to him when writing. “He was always into writing and he would always make up funny jingles to make us laugh and I remember pulling out some of his old stories that he had written, he was into short stories and I think that’s where we are so similar, I love writing, whether it’s writing in a journal or writing stories, it’s where my love for writing songs came about.” She tells us that after his death, she had a box that she would write stories or messages to her dad on little slips of paper and put them in the special box, her mom said that her dad could read them that way. It was like she was writing down her thoughts and feelings into songs before she even realized she was a songwriter.

After realizing she wasn’t meant to be in college, (she would rather sit in her room and play music, learn guitar and make YouTube videos then go to class), she made the move to Music City and started songwriting and her artist journey. Her debut EP Put It In A Song has garnered over 19 million streams across platforms and she’s found success writing her personal stories and turning them into music. “In reality, those songs are just my diary, it was just situations I had gone through in that point in time, stories, put it in a song is about falling in love for the first time, they all pertain to a certain point in my life and so I never thought of it as oh trying got to write songs that would relate to someone or someone will listen, but here is my story and I put a melody to it.”

Her next single, “Red White” was released last Friday (July 12th) and is a song she wrote with Reid Isbell and was one of the first times she had a cowrite in Nashville. “He’s one of the coolest people I’ve met here, and he came into my life at a point I was pretty sad and he came into the writers room and just wanted to write an uptempo song, something fun, I knew I wanted to write a fun song too and he had a great idea so we just went with it.” When a lot of her music is revolved around love or heartbreak, Acorn explains she was so happy to step out of her element and create a song perfect for the warmer months.

For the rest of 2019, Acorn is writing as much as she can and continuing to promote the single for the remainder of the summer, gearing up to release new music soon!

To keep up with Taylor Acorn follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

“Red White” is now available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released music here on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.

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Thank You for supporting Country Music in NYC & Beyond!

Subscribe to our Weekly Round-Up here 
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NYCS Swag Spotlight: Kirby Ai

Kirby Ai

 

Our next Swag Spotlight Kirby Ai is a native of Oahu, Hawaii and just released two new songs that we know you’ll love. Growing up on the southeast shore of Oahu, Ai’s father was a radio DJ for classic rock and he always had music on around the house. Back then, country music wasn’t at all popular on the island and the first time he recalls hearing something remotely related to the genre, he says it was a specific song that Sting put on one of his albums, his father telling him that the song he loved had a country sound. He tells us that James Taylor and John Mayer are two of his biggest influences as a singer-songwriter.

He picked up a guitar when he was a sophomore in high school. “At first, I was playing my dads guitar, I would practice at home and my parents saw that I loved learning it so for Christmas they bought me my own guitar and I brought it to school every day,” Ai explains. “My junior and senior year, we would all hang out in one corner and I always brought my guitar to school, I would leave it in one corner and everyone would come back and play it and then leave it, it was like a community guitar.”

When he went to college at California Lutheran University is when he finally was immersed in the country music genre, even attending a bar that had country line dancing with his roommate. He recalls hearing Brett Eldredge’s song “Don’t Ya” and loving everything about it and then discovering Billy Currington who loves to surf and the island life, further piquing his interest in the music.

Kirby Ai

Towards the end of his college career, he realized that music was something he really wanted to pursue, taking classes in music production and eventually making his way to LA to intern at a studio. “I learned a lot and it opened doors for me to do music full time and I started playing my music and gigging and booking gigs up and down the coast.” When it comes to his own music, he identifies that the lifestyle he knew growing up in Hawaii is not so different from the values that country music teaches. “I think the music is great, country itself, and Hawaii are different but I do think they are a lot more similar than people would think at first glance,” he explains. “They are both laid back, family oriented, and teach you to appreciate the simple things. It’s about enjoying life and the little things and what really matters and I think I really gravitate towards those messages.”

He is currently on his Finding Latitude Tour which started May 31st and continues touring the west coast and beyond until the end of August. What we found most interesting is that Ai is doing it all, booking his own gigs, handling his pitch emails and promoting his new music. “I know I have my best interest at heart, I want it so I am going to work hard every single day,” he says. Hearing his determination and how hard he works to get his music to his fans is refreshing. “It’s great to be able to have your hand in everything and get to understand it, from a business side its beneficial to see how everything works together and hopefully one day when we hand those things off to other people, it gives you a perspective of how hard they are working.”

He tells us about “Keep My Distance” which was released last month and tells the story of falling for someone but timing preventing it from being a forever love. Just last Thursday he released another track, “Just Like A Girl Like You” which further showcases his ability to create catchy melodies and tell relatable stories. “Music Row that was just so cool to get all of these country musicians who are so talented, to sit in the room and all I had to do was sing, they are all playing and doing what they do best, to get to see the song come to life, was really a beautiful thing,” Ai says of recording these tracks in Nashville.

To keep up with Kirby Ai follow him on InstagramTwitter, and Facebook.

“Keep My Distance” and “Just Like a Girl Like You” are now available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released music here on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.

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NYCS Swag Spotlight Cody Webb

Cody Webb

Growing up in South Carolina, our Swag Spotlight this week Cody Webb started playing guitar when he was 8 years old and actually played in his father’s local band when he was only 12 years old. His father always listened to, and played southern rock music and Webb tells us in our recent interview that Lynryd Skynryd was a huge influence for him when he was learning to play guitar.  Throughout high school, he would play local festivals with his dad’s band and once he got to college at Clemson University he would play downtown bars and started gigging all over the area. Once he visited Nashville during his senior year of college, he knew that was where he had to be and moved there right after college to write music. “I love everything from Hank Williams to Waylon Jennings, Lynryd Skynryd and then new stuff like Post Malone and modern country. I just like good music. I don’t put myself in a box especially as a songwriter. If I listened to only country radio I wouldn’t write very creative songs, so I try to listen to all types of music,” Webb tells us.

In Nashville, Webb befriended Luke Combs before he really hit it big with his number one hits and they co-wrote a song for Combs’ album, “Memories Are Made Of” with Ray Fulcher. “We wrote several songs together so when he cut it all I thought was, ‘I’ve got a great friend cutting a song’. Nobody thought it would be a double platinum album and that he was going to be the biggest next thing, back then it was just, a friend is cutting one of my songs,” he tells us.

Cody Webb Jon Boat

He chats all about his current single “Jon Boat” which is the perfect summertime jam.  The idea clicking in his head after he was hanging on the lake with some buddies and a big yacht passed by. “So we wave at everyone going by, a giant yacht came by and we waved at them and they just looked at us like we were a bunch of rednecks and we shouldn’t have been waving to them so a friend of mine, who had too much to drink went off on them yelling how their boat cost more money but we’ll have fun with a Jon boat then your boat.”

It took several writing sessions with Trey Ellis, Trent Jeffcoat, and Keith Dozier together and separately but the song was finally finished and he started playing it out and it became a big hit with his fan base. He tells us that he finally felt the timing was right, excited about the team he now has around him and how happy he is to promote the song on the road this summer. He also can’t wait for the video release which is coming out later this month.

Besides playing gigs all over the country, Webb is looking forward to catching Luke Combs live and writing with him and Ray Fulcher on his bus in a few weeks. He tells us that he has even more new music almost ready to release and he is hoping to have the new tracks ready in the next few months.

To keep up with Cody Webb follow him on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

“Jon Boat” is now available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released music here on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.

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Thank You for supporting Country Music in NYC & Beyond!

Subscribe to our Weekly Round-Up here 
for ticket giveaways, meet & greet contests, upcoming events,
and all things country music in the New York metro area and beyond!

+ Follow our country music adventures on InstagramTwitter & Facebook:

NYCS Swag Spotlight: Clark Manson

Clark Manson

Clark Manson, our Swag Spotlight this week wanted to be a rockstar guitarist for KISS when he was in middle school, funny enough, learning the guitar and eventually how to write music has now landed him in the country music genre.  The Covington, Ohio native grew up in a very small town graduating in a class of about 50 kids. His parents took him to see George Strait when he was 5 years old and he tells us from that moment on he just knew that’s what he wanted to do.  Branching out from listening to country music, he was influenced by John Mellencamp and KISS but eventually found his way back to the genre. “As I grew up and got older, you realize what the lyric is all about, it is more wholesome and related to me a lot more in my day to day life,” Manson tells us.

He started out just playing gigs around town, eventually when he was college playing a gig every single night. “I did about 200 shows in one year and I did that for like 3 years, I eventually realized there was no way I could go on playing cover songs forever so I wanted to do my own stuff so I started writing a lot more and did some recording.”

He tells us about a 3-day concert up in Ohio called Country Concert which takes place in July that he went to with friends every year. He tells us how great it was to one year be there partying his friends and then just a few years later to be actually playing on those same stages.

After making the move to Nashville and writing every single day with a publishing deal, Manson and his new bride decided to move back to their home state of Ohio and he now records almost all of his music right in his own home. He is a new dad, his son Jax is 9 months old and he tells us about how his latest single “Goodyear’s” was inspired by becoming a father.

The title “Goodyears” hit him like a ton of bricks after a conversation with a mechanic at his local gas station. “I told him I needed some new tires, so he asked me what kind I wanted and I asked what tires were on it now, he said “Well those were some Goodyears” I just started thinking, a good play on words, I came home, went on my back porch and just wrote the song in 20 minutes,” he recalls.

The story is classic country, and although it might have originated as a song about a truck being handed down from a father to a son, the memories made in that truck are what sticks out to the owner and eventually the three generations of the family who drive it.

“Goodyear’s” is the first of the next eight songs that Manson plans to release over the next year, finishing up vocals on the new songs now. He will be playing the Madison County Fair with Michael Ray and Drake White on July 7th in London, Ohio.  For future announcements and tour dates head to https://www.clarkmanson.com/

To keep up with Clark Manson follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Thank You for supporting Country Music in NYC & Beyond!

Subscribe to our Weekly Round-Up here 
for ticket giveaways, meet & greet contests, upcoming events,
and all things country music in the New York metro area and beyond!

+ Follow our country music adventures on InstagramTwitter & Facebook: